THE most important story in local hospitality for the last 10 years has been small independent units enlivening neighbourhoods, drawing people into different areas of the city and providing a social focus for the community.

Walking down Pollokshaws Road reveals a checklist of local success stories but also the ongoing challenges.

While there is a focus of concern on the two-speed exit from lockdown, with Glasgow lagging behind the rest of the country, it is worth remembering that social distancing measures put some businesses with compact premises at a standstill.

Efforts to share public space to provide more capacity has had mixed results – see Eusebi’s innovative outdoor seating solution leaving West End neighbours aghast.

The changing landscape of rules has small café, bar and restaurant owners pirouetting through business models.

This pressure has been mitigated by the support they have received from the people who value what they do.

If there is one thing that we have learned over the last year, it is the places that we don’t want to lose.

Julie’s Kopitiam launched a dine at home kit featuring Malaysian chicken curry and sweet sambal wok fried pork with Home-X this week. In her own wee place, chef Julie Lin has put tables and chairs to one side, making way for a new takeaway menu.

Glasgow Times:

Order Hong Kong-style fried French toast with condensed milk and peanut butter, a taste sensation. Have char siu sticky pork belly or grilled satay chicken in a sub roll for lunch.

Dig into spicy noodle boxes with cumin ground lamb or wok fried smoky prawn.

I talk to Julie about the current climate for small food businesses, including the reaction to Eusebi’s improvised outdoor seating.

Glasgow Times:

“Eusebi’s have done a great job, that corner is thriving. Giovanna and the family moved the deli there from Shettleston and made a business in the area.

“If they don’t get the support from the council then that’s sad. Especially when you see the kind of leeway Wetherspoons get at George Square,” Julie said.

“Here, we’re small, rent is high and it is difficult to expand but in Glasgow people are ready to make thing work.

“We’ve got that determination. I still believe that it’s the small units that create the brunch scene in the city, add so much to independent food and hopefully it continues that way” she adds.

Glasgow Times:

Julie took over this spot from Laurie MacMillan, chef owner of Café Strange Brew, who moved across the road.

She continued: “She trained me up in my first job. I knew how to make great food but I didn’t have a clue how to work in a proper kitchen. It’s a nice story about pushing people up.

Glasgow Times:

“If you look at some of the places that have opened in recent years, especially in Shawlands, so many folk have a connection to Strange Brew. That’s true of a lot of small food businesses, it’s where people get their start.”

As I leave with a prawn curry rice box, she mentions that The Hairy Bikers, Si King and Dave Myers, will be arriving on motorcycles today to film in Julie’s Kopitiam for their latest television show.

Glasgow Times:

Julie says that, when the time comes, she’d like to pass on her existing unit to someone with a new idea and move into a bigger restaurant.

Until then you’ll find fresh Malaysian-inspired flavours to go from this gloriously lo-fi, distinctive neighbourhood kitchen.